Some 13 tourists — including a doctor and an employee of the Health Department — were apprehended by authorities in San Juan, La Union after misleading officials about their travel plans and failing to comply with the prevailing COVID-19 health protocols in the area.
According to San Juan Police Chief Police Major Geraldo Macaraeg, the tourists were allowed to pass through the checkpoint as they said they were just passing through and heading for Baguio City.
“Pinadaan sila pero hindi nila alam na sila ay sinusundan ng tropa natin, at ‘yun nga, nagpunta sila dito sa municipality of San Juan at sila ay nag-check in dito sa isang hotel dito sa ating bayan,” he said in a report on GMA’s “24 Oras Weekend” on Sunday.
(They were allowed to pass through, but they didn’t know that they were followed by our troops. They headed to the San Juan municipality and they checked in at a hotel in our town.)
The tourists, who also had a child with them, will be facing charges for violating Republic Act 1132 or the Law on Reporting of Communicable Diseases.
San Juan, La Union is currently under a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), and accepts tourists provided they present a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test and register with the local government before the visit.
“Ang punta nila dito is leisure at wala silang naipakitang any document, RT-PCR, or dumaan man lang sa any health protocol na pinapaigting ng probinsya natin,” said Macaraeg.
(Their visit here is for leisure and they did not present any document, RT-PCR, nor did they pass through any health protocols being implemented in the province.)
The resort where the tourists checked in could also have its Certificate to Operate revoked. It was not identified in the report.
The Philippines on Sunday reported 5,966 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total caseload to 1,436,369. This includes 52,708 active cases; 1,358,512 recoveries; and 25,149 deaths. — Jon Viktor Cabuenas/DVM, GMA News